BAYKO in 'The History of British Toys'
By Deborah Jaffé

This is an excellent and comprehensive hardback book which basically does what it says on the tin. there is an element of the coffee table book about it, but it is still well worth reading.
But first the details - 'The History of British Toys, from Spinning Tops to Robots', by Deborah Jaffé was published, in 2006, by J.H. Haynes & Co., Sparkford and allocated ISBN 0-7509-3850-1.
This is a comprehensive treatise on all aspects of the British toy industry, and is an interesting and informative read, from someone who clearly knows her subject. There are a couple of minor details you can quibble about, but I don't think they detract at all from the recognition of BAYKO's innovative role and status within the toy industry.
There are several mentions of both BAYKO and its inventor, C.B. Plimpton, which I will list in the order that they appear in the book. The first appears on page 5 : -
The History of Toys, page 115, showing BAYKO images
“…In 1902 Frank Hornby introduced Meccano to support the belief that children, especially boys, should understand basic mechanics and engineering. Then the plastics revolution brought Bayko, Mini bricks, Lego and K'nex.”
The second reference appears on page 52 : -
“…Finally it was Leo Baekeland's synthetic resin, called Bakelite, invented in the early twentieth century, which was a successful precursor to what would become the major material of the mass manufacture of toys in the twentieth century. The Bayko construction sets were some of the earliest toys made of Bakelite.”
The third BAYKO reference appears on page 104 : -
“…They all allow children to explore an important aspect of play, that is to replicate, in miniature, the reality of the world in which they live. These toys can absorb children for long periods and many of them, such as Meccano, Lincoln Logs, Bayko and Lego, have become firmly ingrained in the minds of adults as key toys when they were young.”
The fourth, final and easily the most comprehensive reference to BAYKO appears between pages 114 and 116 and includes the illustrations shown [above, right] in the image on page 115 : -
“Charles Plimpton developed his Bayko construction system in the 1930s at his factory in Liverpool. Bayko was different from other building sets in that it used Bakelite, a plastic that first appeared in the early twentieth century, and combined the engineering aspects of Meccano with the architectural principals of Lott's Bricks. Red and white bricks, stones, balustrades, pillars, arches, roof tiles, door and window frames, fences, crazy paving and bases were moulded out of Bakelite (which although regarded as revolutionary at the time was fraught with production problems - colours might vary and larger pieces could bend). Every piece had a vertical hole down each side through which a long metal rod was passed and inserted into the base. Other pieces were placed on top and gradually walls with windows and doors and then roofs were assembled to make buildings. Each design, sold in its own box with a picture of the finished product on the front, reflected the British architecture of the inter-war period - some were art deco and others inspired by the 1930s semi-detached houses with bay windows. Bayko was very popular and was exported widely. Once they had mastered the complexities of the system, getting the right length of rod, planning the design of their building and making sure they had the right component pieces, children could build whole towns out of Bayko. By the late 1950s Bakelite was gradually being replaced by the newer, cheaper and more suitable polystyrene. But there were now new rivals in the marketplace. Philip Ullmann at Mettoy designed an interlocking toy house. Each wall, floor and roof was made of separate panels slotted into grooved strips. Airfix was producing Betta Builda kits and the new Lego brick was entering the market. The Bayko company was sold to its successful neighbour Meccano in the early 1960s and advertised in Meccano Magazine. However, many of Plimpton's original designs were replaced by newer styles that included 1960s-style bungalows with dormer windows. Unfortunately, once the more versatile and easier-to-use Lego had established itself there was little place for even the revamped Bayko, and production ceased in the late 1960s.”
Even more finally (!) there was a caption alongside the images on page 115 [above, right] which read as follows : -
“A house made from a 1950s set of Bayko and the instruction manual (P. Carnegie).”
Below here are links to related info : -
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Latest update - August 11, 2022
The BAYKO name and Logo are the Registered Trade Mark of Transport of Delight.